Definition of Terms

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can take one of two forms.  The first form involves unwelcome verbal, electronic, physical and/or visual conduct based on sex, which both (1) unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or educational performance, and (2) creates an environment that both a reasonable person and the specific person being harassed would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.  The second form involves either (1) submission to unwelcome advances of a supervisor as an express or implied condition of receiving work or educational benefits, or (2) a tangible work or educational detriment resulting from a person’s failure or refusal to submit to sexual demands of a supervisor.  Examples of sexual harassment include (but are not limited to):

  • Unwelcome sexual flirtation or advances.
  • Offering employment, promotions, grades or other benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Making or threatening reprisals for refusing sexual advances.
  • Unwelcome visual and/or electronic conduct such as leering; making sexual gestures; displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters; and suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations.
  • Unwelcome verbal or electronic conduct such as derogatory comments; epithets; slurs; sexual innuendo; sexual jokes; graphic verbal commentaries about a person’s body; and sexually degrading words used to describe a person.
  • Unwelcome physical conduct such as unwarranted, suggestive or offensive touching; and impeding or blocking movement.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault refers to any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against the person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the survivor is incapable of giving consent, as well as incest or statutory rape.  Examples of sexual assault for purposes of this policy include but are not limited to:

  • Intentional touching of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent;
  • Other intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent;
  • Coercing, forcing or attempting to coerce or force a person to touch another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent; or
  • Rape, which is penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s consent.   

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:

  • A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the survivor;
  • A person with whom the survivor shares a child in common;
  • A person who is or was residing in the same household as the survivor; or
  • Any person against someone who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Dating Violence

Dating Violence refers to violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor.

Stalking

Stalking occurs when someone engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when someone takes sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person’s consent.  Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation for purposes of this policy include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Prostituting another person;
  • Recording images (e.g., video, photographs) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts or nakedness without that person’s consent;
  • Distributing images (e.g., video, photographs) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts or nakedness if the person distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure; and
  • Viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.

Unwelcome Conduct

Unwelcome conduct does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target or involve repeated incidents, and can involve persons of the same or opposite sex.  Participation in conduct or the failure to complain does not always mean the conduct was welcome.  The fact that a person has welcomed some conduct does not necessarily mean a person welcomed other conduct.  Similarly, the fact that a person may have invited, requested or otherwise consented to conduct on one occasion does not necessarily mean the conduct is welcome on a later occasion.  

Consent

Consent as used in this policy is defined as follows:

Consent is informed. Consent is an affirmative, knowing, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.

Consent is voluntary. It must be given without coercion, force, threats, or intimidation. Consent means positive cooperation in the act or expression of intent to engage in the act pursuant to an exercise of free will. Even though consent does not necessarily need to be verbal, relying purely on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. So, a spoken agreement is the most clearly indicated form of consent. It may not, in any way, be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of an active response alone. Assuming that consent was given by the absence of a “no” is wrong.

Consent is revocable. Consent to some form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity on one occasion is not consent to engage in sexual activity on another occasion. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must stop immediately.

Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated. A person cannot consent if s/he is unconscious or coming in and out of consciousness. A person cannot consent if s/he is under the threat of violence, bodily injury or other forms of coercion. A person cannot consent if his/her understanding of the act is affected by a physical or mental impairment. Consent must be given with rational and reasonable judgment, so if the survivor was physically incapacitated from the consumption of alcohol or drugs, unconsciousness, or any other kind of inability, consent cannot be obtained.